Sep 8, 2008
I was out there again waiting for a hint of an Autumnal Chill to pass by on the back of some truant breeze that, in its hurry to catch up to its more expeditious brothers, might leave behind some clue as to what we could expect in the weeks to come.
But September has a weird reputation this far south and you can’t trust the signals you get at this time of year with very much faith. But then, I guess Faith is rapidly becoming a scarce commodity in these times; which have been running noticeably on the Lean side lately with the constant promise of ever-diminishing returns.
I was just cooling it out there at my usual perch on the Stoop when I heard her slip out behind me.
“What’re you doing?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I told her.
She slid up next to me and crowded me over.
We both got lost in the constant wash of night sounds that drive the engine of the neighborhood in which we’ve found ourselves. It surges and subsides like the midnight tide on some distant beach where the pulse of the world is counted in measured breaths.
We watched the walkers and bicyclists drift past; some with bent heads moving at a frenetic pace as if some invisible weight rested upon them and drove them forward and others who seemed to amble along at a pace set by some unknown metronome that only they could hear. And others still who, mumbling to themselves, got lost in bizarre and one-sided dialectics that might well have been the final straws on the backs of the Personal Camels in their lives and moved in the night with directionless certainty toward mysterious goals and destinations that we didn’t really want to consider at all.
“Did you bring the blanket out?” she asked.
I turned and looked at her; the curve of her cheek and the line of her jaw were illuminated by the scant moonlight. I noticed the bed-ready way in which she was dressed and I could see the skin that was exposed just above her waist, speaking to me the endless motions to be made in the hope of testing the limit of her romantic endurance and viciously and repeatedly plumbing the depths of her affection in the last hours before she drifted off in her quiet way to a slumber that still managed to linger on the edge of erotic invitation.
“No,” I said. “I didn’t.”
She nodded and looked out across the street. She got up without a word and went back inside. I heard the door snick shut behind me.
I looked down the street to a house a few doors down where all the windows were glowing red through tinted blinds and I wondered what things were happening behind those walls. And, if I turned just right, I could make out the muted notes and humming throb of the music that was leaking out around the edges of their Private Party. I could see shadows cast on the shades and I imagined fulsome dancing and narrow-eyed characters huddled in the corners involved in all manner of furtive manipulations while a thick smoke hung in the room around them and hid all the naked, sexual aggression that floated on the too-thick and rarified air which they breathed. I could imagine the entanglements and damp-handed explorations in that place and I wondered if my summation of what was Really Happening was anywhere near the Truth of it.
I knew, better than some, that my guess was probably more correct than even I wanted to believe.
Another freak coasted by on his bicycle, yelling out the broken cadence of whatever personal square dance was in his head tonight and with no hands on the handlebars.
I knew it was time to drift back indoors.
I looked back one last time at the magenta windows hanging out there in the dim-lit twilight and my mind turned again to all the fleshy endeavors I could place within those confines and I took a few lingering moments to ruminate on what it all must’ve been like.
Then I went back inside…where things had finally gone dry and were made simple for me at last in the hard language of simple emotional arithmetic.